Brian Viloria is a fighter – and fan – on Saturday night
Brian Viloria has had a storied professional career, since joining the paid ranks after representing the United States in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He has won belts in multiple weight classes and fought all over the world (from Macao, China, to the Alameda Swap Meet) and performed on some of the biggest stages the sport has to offer.
On Saturday, he will face Miguel Cartagena as part of the “SuperFly” undercard at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The 36-year-old “Hawaiian Punch” understands he is now writing the final chapter of his life as a prizefighter.
“You don’t know but that’s my plans. It’s gone fast,” he said last week, while wrapping his own hands at the Wild Card Boxing Club before his day’s work. “I’m getting up there in age. I’m a dinosaur in this weight division.”
The featured performers on this HBO tripleheader are super flyweights, something that is as rare as an Amur Leopard for an American network. Till recently, smaller weight fighters were shunned by the major networks and relegated to undercard slots on pay-per-view cards or treated as appetizers before the main course.
Viloria, one of the major players during his career in the land of Lilliputians, marvels at the occurrence. Small men getting a big platform, indeed…
“I mean, this is a special card and all these guys on the card are great fighters,” said Viloria, without a hint of envy or jealousy. Truth be told, the work he’s put in, along with Roman Gonzalez, Vic Darchinyan and Nonito Donaire made this possible. “It’s a great card to showcase the division and I think fight people are going to pay a little more attention to this division and hopefully there’ll be a lot more fights like these.
After winning titles at 108 and 112 pounds, does Viloria have thoughts of moving up to super flyweight, to which HBO has clearly made a commitment?
“I’m playing everything by ear. Everything is by ear, one fight at a time and we’ll see where everything leads us to,” he answered on Monday morning. “If it goes to super flyweight, we’ll take it. If not, there are still some opportunities (at flyweight) because I can still make flyweight, believe it or not, fairly easy. I’m just a pound over now and I’ve still got to Friday till weigh-in and I make the weight division a lot easier but we’ll see where the money is. We’ll see where the competition is and it’s all up to my manager (Gary Gittelsohn).”
Regardless, whenever he walks off into the sunset, Viloria, 37-5 (22), will be satisfied with the work he’s put in. You could argue that, from the 2000 Olympic class, only Miguel Cotto and Darchinyan had better pro runs.
“Yeah, four world titles, two divisions, I think I won every organization’s belt there is out there,” he pointed out to UCNLive.com. “I wish I had more exposure than I had at the weight division but it is what it is and I’ll be happy. I’m happy with what I did with my career and I think, this day, I’m just trying to take everything that’s left in my tank and just leave it out there. So, when I hang ’em up, I know I left everything in that ring.”
It was about five years ago when Viloria was part of a card televised by AWE that featured Roman Gonzalez-Juan Francisco Estrada at the now-torn down L.A. Sports Arena, in a memorable night of boxing. Viloria dismanted Hernan “Tyson” Marquez that evening in one of his most dominant outings. Now, some of these same boxers are being showcased on HBO.
When asked which fight he’s most interested in, Viloria answers, “Roman ‘Chocolatito’ (Gonzalez), the rematch with the Thai fighter (WBC titlist Srisaket Sor Rungvisai). I tell people I thought Chocolatito won the first fight and I think that’s the fight I’m most looking forward to that night.”
After he gets done with this business with Cartegena tomorrow night, he’ll be like everyone else at the StubHub Center.
“Of course, why not? These opportunities are very few and just to see people that you’ve been in the ring with, I just want to be a fan of boxing that night and just look at that live and watch the great fights.”
Viloria faced both Gonzalez and Estrada. Here are his thoughts on both fighters…Mikey Garcia wants to make a lot of fights with boxers at Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions; doesn’t he?…Danny Roman looked damn good in taking the WBA 122-pound title from Shun Kubo in Japan. ThompsonBoxing.com will stream that bout (and on their Facebook page) tonight at 7 p.m. PT, with Beto Duran and me on the call…The weigh-in for SuperFly is open to the public at the StubHub Center, with gates opening at noon and the fighters scheduled to step onto the scale at 1 p.m. PT…This past season of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with the Tampa Bay Bucs might be its best ever. Seriously, Jameis Winston made that show fun and interesting…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.